While a range of our regular bloggers have been bloggin about all sorts-a topsy-turvy subjects ranging from the likes of Loy Krathong, Helicopter Rides and Thai Munchies to even floppy floating nuns I thought that I would write something completely ‘way-outta-order’ and give yous all a right old controversially correct look into the ‘Thai System’ (just for starters)
Let’s start with Thai hospitals. Now, what a fine place they are to go to have a right peev and laugh at someone else’s expense…. governement hospitals in particular. Unlike in the west where being sick is rather a private thing, here in the ‘Land of Monks and Mangosteens’ such an episode is a great opportunity for a family-get-together and a right fervent 24 hour party-picnic of dried squid, sticky rice and rice whisky just to the right of the patient’s bed. And, if that isn’t enough to make yer sick grannie even sicker, Thai State hospitals are a haven for relatives to spend the day sprawled out on the floor arguing, gabbling away on their moblies and chatting up some charming-looking laddies or lasses plonked on the floor at the bed opposite. As for the person who is actually sick….well, that’s his kharma!
A couple of commodities of which are a rare in sight at a Thai State hospital are, one: a doctor and two: a nurse. In fact it has occurred to me plenty of times in Thailand that unless you have the cash or medical insurance to be admitted to a private hospital there is little difference between laid half-dead on a hospital bed and being plonked-out at home. For those readers who have fortunately never had the misfortune of being admitted to a governement hopsital do take these kind words of advice should you ‘be going there…. soon’. Do make sure you have someone bring your food, pyjamas, medicine, soap, well… I mean, absolutely any everyday essential, as most of the professionals on duty will be busy moaning about the effects of the 30 Baht Health Scheme or watching replays of the European Championship Football League Fixtures to give a darned-monkeys about you.
But, this is Thailand and just like the rest of the world you can have a right fanfare of a good time if you have the ‘flasha-ze-cash’. Feeling tired? Wanna a sleep? Well, sods having to rent an over-priced hotel room when one may as well find a fine four-star hospital room at half the hotel price. Even if you aren’t that sick just play it on with a little bit of ‘oooh oooh, aaaah aaaah’ and you’ll be pampered like a little cuddly baby. Then, if yer feeling a bit lonely, Thai hospital private rooms are fully equipped with another bed for a friend, relative or even a local massage girl to come keep ya company for an hour. And of course, since ‘This Is Thailand’’, the nurses and doctors on charge will even turn a blind eye if they see naughty old uncle popping out the back for a few cigarettes, a couple of beers or a quickie rendezvous with the local blind lottery-lady behind the canteen before returning back to sleep.
Now, another alright place to be in Thailand (if you have the cash!!) is a Thai prison. But may the forces be with you if you haven’t! I always remember the fine story of an old Farang friend of mine a few years ago who ended up being stuck behind bars for a week at immigration. The poor fellow was staying at some right radish of a rabbit-hutch guesthouse somwehere down near Lumphini Park and since he had been going out on the ‘non-stop razz’ for the month or so before, and plus , being ripped off by some gummy gem-dealer had……got himself into a spot of financial bother. Anyway, the laddie had sources, some rich 50 year-old rich Bombay-beauty who he had been dating for a while was on her way to have money wired from Bangalore to Bangkok on his behalf. In the meantime however, our down-and-out chappie just didn’t havent the cash to get to the Thai border to renew his visa first. Darned bad luck! On just a one week visa overstay he was soon ‘busted’ after the local immigration/police authorities decided to wander the area’s guesthouses checking out foreigners and their passports!
Well, what I heard didn’t sound that bad! Behind bars and in the nick at the Immigration Headquarters our down-and-out Farang buddie on having been given a couple of thousand Baht which he had stuffed down his undies for emergency uses was – very soon ‘warmly welcomed’ by the prison wardens. On realizing that the Farang-fallout wasn’t exactly shorta ‘ze-baht’ the prison wardnes were soon coming up and handing out a whole loada fliers from the likes of ‘KFC’, ’Pizza Hut’ and ‘MK Sukiyaki’ . All that was needed to purchase some’ very-munchable-take-away’ was, just a nice hundred baht note for use of the warden’s mobile telephone. As matter of fact, what I heard was that if you had the cash you could order what the heck you wanted! Furthermore, me buddy here advised me that during this seven day stint behind bars at immigration some Bangladeshi guy would come into the cell every morning and actually set up a stall! Besides just selling cigarettes and newspapers etc behind bars.. his little stall had cool iced-pepsis, beers and raunchy magazines too! A Farangy-friend inmate of his even had the cheek to ask the Bangladeshi stalls-man just for a laugh “You can get me some herbs to smoke?” to which our stallsman replied “You are being in the jail, but I can be going asking me officer friend for you, if you having the casha-to-flash, I think he can get”
The last thing I heard about me old farang buddy down at his ‘Soi Ngam Dupli’ Guesthouse was that he was still living off his his Busted-Bombay-Beauty, wiring him 15,000 Baht a month.
It is a well-known fact that any criminal in Thailand with lotsa cash doesn’t exactly have to live the life of a prison urchin. I remember just a couple of years back the Minister of Interior at the time had taken it into his own hands to secretly go check-out the living conditions of the country’s well-off meanest inmates. Afraid of tip-offs being passed over to the wardens the Minister kept his visits absolutely confidential ‘til the morning he turned up at the prison gates with a whole stack-a ‘proper’ cops, to examine for himself the in-prison goings-on. Our Minister friend was soon completely outraged, at a certain ‘big prison’ down south in the likes of Nakhorn Sri Thammarat, to find a couple of busted drug barons fitted out in their own private air-con cells, plugged into their PCs chatting away on MSN whilst being pampered by a couple of lusty-looking girls. If that wasn’t enough, Mr Minister soon declared to the media that: “Darned, half these jailed drug barons are still dealing from behind bars in a five-star room!”
Now, one of the biggest laughs I have personally had over all the time I have been in Thailand is this” “Foreign Mafia in Thailand!” Shiver-me-timbers! I’m petrified! It’s impossible for me to count now just many frivolous completely over-the-top exaggarated stories I have read on the Internet and foreign journals to the likes of “German, Russian, English Football Hooligan, Italian and the what-not so-called Farang Mafia – in Thailand!”. Just go down to Pattaya at the weekend, plonk yourself at a bar and some not-so groovy ex-pat will soon be trying to scare the wits out of you with some “Ooooh, I have my friend, he mafia from the Switzerland” Give me a break!! You only have to pick up the local Thai newspaper to read stories of Russian so-called ‘Godfather’ wanna-bes down in Pattaya being arrested every month for the likes of over-staying their visas or pinching a cranky old motorbike. Don’t think Al Capone would be too impressed. In fact, I can remember an old blog of mine ‘Gimme a Break 2’ which told the true story of a bunch of Russian Mafia Criminals who after busting a bank in Pattaya, got arrested an hour later, half way out to sea in some flimsy speedboat (run outta petrol!) before being paraded in front of the evening news fitted out in just their underpants and handcuffs.